Home singapore Jail for engineering firm boss who forged invoices of over $1m; claims he was helping friend lower tax bill

Jail for engineering firm boss who forged invoices of over $1m; claims he was helping friend lower tax bill

Jail for engineering firm boss who forged invoices of over $1m; claims he was helping friend lower tax bill
A sole director of an engineering company was sentenced to 30 weeks’ jail for forging invoices worth more than S$1 millionAng Lye Soon said in his defence that he thought that by doing so, he was helping a friend reduce his corporate taxesHis actions were linked to an alleged bigger scheme to siphon S$9.7 million from a company through the issuing of false invoices from various subcontractors 

By Taufiq Zalizan Published October 2, 2023 Updated October 2, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — A sole proprietor of an engineering company was on Monday (Oct 2) sentenced to 30 weeks’ jail after pleading guilty to five counts of forging invoices amounting to more than S$1 million.

The accused, Ang Lye Soon, 59, had received around S$24,000 as benefit for committing the offences.

Two similar charges of forgery were taken into consideration during his sentencing on Monday.

Ang was the latest to be dealt with out of 12 individuals charged in 2021 for their roles in an alleged scheme to cheat a construction company of S$9.7 million.


The court heard on Monday that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was tipped off in 2017 to an alleged scheme involving ex-employees siphoning money from Civil Tech Pte Ltd (CTPL), a construction firm.

The ex-employees, referred to in court documents with the codename “Wolf of Five”, did this by submitting false invoices to CTPL through subcontractors to support claims that certain work had been carried out when no such work had in fact been done.

A member of the group allegedly approached Huang Zhiguo, director of Hua Rong Engineering — a co-accused in Ang’s case — to provide false invoices to CTPL so that money can be paid to Hua Rong Engineering, with Huang being offered a cut of the fake invoice amount.

In March 2016, Huang approached Ang proposing that the latter’s company, Dowell Engineering Services, issue false invoices to Hua Rong Engineering amounting to around S$1.2 million for works that were not carried out.

In exchange, Ang could keep 2 per cent of the invoice sum as “commission”, to which Ang agreed.

The court heard that the two had been acquainted for several years at that point.

In total, Ang issued seven invoices of between S$80,400 and S$288,900 from April to July 2016, totalling more than S$1.28 million.

Ang kept about S$24,000 of the monies transferred from Hua Rong Engineering to Dowell Engineering Services and has not made any restitution, court documents showed.


Seeking a sentence of 36 to 42 weeks’ jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sean Teh said that there is a “pressing public interest” in deterring fraud in the construction industry.

“The accused had contributed to the staggering losses of CTPL by his role in the scheme, which allowed his co-accused Huang Zhiguo to launder the monies that had been transferred out of CTPL and into Hua Rong (Engineering),” DPP Teh said.

“His premeditated actions were committed over a sustained period and he had created false invoices for personal gain and to facilitate the criminal actions of others.”

Seeking a lighter sentence of 18 weeks, defence counsel Tang Gee Ni said that Ang had felt “obligated” when asked by Huang to issue the false invoices.

This is because since knowing Huang a few years before the offences, Huang “did give (Ang’s) company Dowell a fair bit of work”.

Mr Tang also quoted from his client’s statement to the CPIB, where he said that he committed the offences with “no intention to cheat anyone” and that he was “trying to help a friend” whom he thought was merely seeking to reduce his corporate taxes through the actions.

The defence lawyer added that Ang had no knowledge of the bigger CTPL scheme or the identity of the Wolf of Five members allegedly siphoning money from that company.

Ang’s relationship was strictly between himself and Huang, and it was based on this that Ang thought that Huang “was trying to save on some corporate tax”, the lawyer said.

In delivering his judgement, District Judge James Elisha Lee said that Ang had a lower culpability than some of the other individuals in the case given his lack of awareness of the cheating scheme.

However, the judge also noted that the harm caused was substantial and Ang had received benefit from his actions, with no restitution made.

His co-accused Huang was also among the 12 people charged in 2021 but his case is still pending.

Before Monday, three other people had pleaded guilty to and were sentenced for their roles relating to the CTPL case, namely:

Yu Yingjie, who issued four false invoices amounting to about S$1.01 million,Wong Mun Kin, who issued seven invoices amounting to about S$1.29 millionZhuang He, who issued five invoices amounting to about S$412,500

All three were directors of different subcontractors of CTPL at the time and were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 28 weeks to nine months after pleading guilty to their charges.

For each count of forgery, Ang could have been sentenced to four years’ jail or fined, or both.